In 1926, Andre Malraux had planned a history of French literature, to be compiled by contemporary authors writing about their illustrious predecessors in the format of dialogue. Although the book itself never appeared, Andre Gide's essay on Montaigne was published separately and remains an extraordinary meeting of temperaments. It was subsequently published again in 'The Yale Review' in 1939, the last of a series of four essays in that publication.
Andre Gide (1869–1951) was a prolific French author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947 "for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight". A man who struggled with his sexuality at a time when society frowned upon 'deviant' behaviour, he exposes to public view the conflict and eventual reconciliation of the two sides of his personality, split apart by a straitlaced education and a narrow social moralism. Gide's work can be seen as an investigation of freedom and empowerment in the face of moralistic and puritanical constraints, and centres on his continuous effort to achieve intellectual honesty.
Our book is one of a limited edition of 800 copies (300 for sale in England and 500 for the USA), is no. 71, and is signed by the author. Bound in green cloth (somewhat damaged on the front cover edge and top R/H corner, slightly faded at the edges, and marked on the back cover), the title and author's name in gilt are enclosed in a double-line oval on the front cover, and repeated on the spine, with the publication date at the bottom. The top page edges are gilt. Inside, apart from a little staining down the gutter of the front endpaper, the pages are clean, bright and unmarked, and the binding is firm. A nice copy.